May 14th, 2001

Leader Fix
By James Castwell

I can tell it's spring; the questions in my e-mail 'in box' change. I try to answer all of them and sometimes I can point to a previous column for more detailed information. Almost everything has been covered at this point, but the new guy somehow just has not found time to read several thousand web-pages to dig it out. Then I have to do things like this, (and I don't mind, it's why we're here)!

A leader is the piece of monofilament stuff that goes from the end of the fly-line to the fly. Please remember to tie the big fat part of the leader to the line, not the skinny end. That brings up the next question. "Huh?" Ok, There are many ways to do it, they all work, some are more appropriate for certain situations than others. "Huh?" You can see that this can be a 'never-ending-tale.'

You may at some time while fishing find it necessary to pull in so much fly-line that the knot from the fly-line to the leader must actually pass through the 'tip-top' on your fly rod. Therefore, keep the knot small enough to get through. Here is what I use, you may like to use other knots, if so go for it. For me, this works.

First I tie a loop in the end of the new leader. (Using as little of the 'butt' section of the leader as possible.) The knot to do this? Here it is:

Perfection Loop

Now that you have mastered the 'Perfection Loop' you need to tie the fly-line to the loop you have just made. Here is the knot for that:

Castwell Knot

There, you now have the leader fastened to the fly-line. Now what? At this point you probably have noticed the leader is still coiled pretty much as it was in that little package it came in. A nice nine-foot leader like that might unroll to a couple of feet at best. You need to make the thing behave, you have to 'take-charge' and become it's master. Be brave, you can do this.

You can if you have a small piece of rubber (like in bike inner-tubes). Same stuff, works great, at least it has for me for over half a century. Find a bike shop, really. Tell them you want an old busted inner-tube. Get the whole thing, you will need it. Hack it into small pieces, about two or three inches square, (or round, it doesn't matter). Punch a small hole in it, pop a string on it and save yourself a lot of money and frustration.

Fold the rubber thingy over the leader and pull the leader through it with firm pressure on the pad. This will generate a small bit of heat (friction) and the leader will become straight almost instantly. If not, do it some more, it will. It will also reduce the sheen or glare common to some leaders. Not a big thing to most of us, but very important to some cranks on this stuff.

Hope this helps some, if not, take a few months off and read the beginners section on here. Good luck, see ya on the stream. Oh, by the way, use the rest of the inner-tube to make leader-straighteners for all of your buddies for the rest of your life.

You might take a look at this knot too, it could save you some heart-ache. Catch & Release Knot.

And, to finish up, go to this one please. Castwell Leaders. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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